• TerrorismDissident republican terror attack “highly likely”: Northern Ireland police

    Will Kerr, Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable, said on Thursday that the threat from the New IRA, Continuity IRA, and Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH) was at present severe, and that a dissident republican terror attack is “highly likely.” Kerr said the main armed republican groups which oppose the ceasefire would aim to ramp up their violence ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising against British rule in 2016. He noted that the republican dissidents had honed their skills and improved their rocket and bomb-making technology by studying improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Islamist insurgents in Iraq.

  • Forensics Forensic facial examiners can be near perfect

    In what might be the first face-off of its kind, trained forensics examiners from the FBI and law enforcement agencies worldwide were far more accurate in identifying faces in photographs than nonexperts and even computers. The new assessment provides “the first strong evidence that facial forensic examiners are better at face recognition than the rest of us,” says a face recognition researcher.

  • CrimeCriminals acquire guns through social connections, not through theft or dirty dealers

    Criminals are far more likely to acquire guns from family and acquaintances than by theft, according to two new studies. “There are a number of myths about how criminals get their guns, such as most of them are stolen or come from dirty dealers. We didn’t find that to be the case,” says one of the researchers.

  • Public healthTwo states changes gun laws, and suicide-by-firearm rates in the two states shift

    A new study examining changes in gun policy in two states finds that handgun purchaser licensing requirements influence suicide rates. Researchers estimate that Connecticut’s 1995 law requiring individuals to obtain a permit or license to purchase a handgun after passing a background check was associated with a 15.4 percent reduction in firearm suicide rates, while Missouri’s repeal of its handgun purchaser licensing law in 2007 was associated with a 16.1 percent increase in firearm suicide rates.

  • School shootingNew personality profiling technique helps identify potential school shooters

    Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed a personality profiling technique which automates the identification of potential school shooters by analyzing personality traits that appear in their writings. The text-based computational personality-profiling tool uses “vector semantics.” This involves constructing a number of vectors representing personality dimensions and disorders, which are analyzed automatically by computer to measure the similarity with texts written by the human subject.

  • ForensicsDetermining the age of fingerprints

    Watch the imprint of a tire track in soft mud, and it will slowly blur, the ridges of the pattern gradually flowing into the valleys. Researchers have tested the theory that a similar effect could be used to give forensic scientists something they’ve long wished for: A way to date fingerprints. Even the approximate age of a fingerprint can have a critical bearing on forensic results, as it can rule out some prints as being too old to be relevant to a crime scene. Military forensics experts would like to be able to date the multitude of fingerprints found on improvised bombs used by insurgents to winnow out prints of individuals who may simply have handled the components in a shop from those of the actual bombmakers.

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  • Law enforcementThe number of guns stolen from police officers is growing

    From time to time, the media report of a burglary in which a firearm was stolen. Some of those stolen weapons were later used in the commission of crime, oftentimes a robbery or shooting. In the past few years, however, a trend has been developed, but which has not been reported in the mass media. That occurrence is the theft of a police officer’s firearm, often accompanied by the pilfering of the officer’s uniform, vest, and badge.

  • Domestic terrorismMore minorities join the sovereign citizen movement

    The sovereign citizen movement, the roots of which lie in white separatism and anti-Semitism, now welcomes non-white adherents. Especially susceptible to recruitment efforts by the movement are African Americans – called “Moorish Americans” or “Moorish Natives” by movement members – from poor and neglected neighborhoods.“They are much more reflective of the demographics of society today,” a former FBI case manager notes.

  • Domestic terrorismMembers of right-wing militia go to jail for plotting attacks on U.S. infrastructure

    Three members of a right-wing militia have been sentenced to twelve years in prison for conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in attacks against federal government agencies. The defendants planned to attack critical infrastructure in Georgia while motivating militia groups in other states to rise up and join them in removing government officials who they believed had exceeded their Constitutional power. The militia members planned on starting a revolution against the federal government by conducting an attack aimed at the infrastructure supporting the TSA, DHS, and FEMA.

  • IrelandQuestions raised about Provisional IRA’s possible return to its violent ways

    It has been assumed that Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) has “gone away,” in the words of Sinn Féin’s leader Gerry Adams. In the wake of the 13 August killing in Belfast of a former IRA operative, police north of south of the border have launched an investigation into whether PIRA is still engaged in violence. Separately, a former member of PIRA, who is now a historian working in theBoston College Belfast Project, has charged that hackers affiliated with Sinn Féin have hacked his and his wife’s communication and leaked some of it to the press. U.S. courts allowed the Northern Ireland police access to portions of the archive, leading to arrests of several prominent Belfast Republicans.

  • Law enforcementWith 5% of world's population, U.S. had 31% of the world’s public mass shooters in 1966-2012

    Despite having only about 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States was the attack site for a disproportionate 31 percent of public mass shooters globally from 1966 to 2012, according to new research. The study is the first quantitative analysis of all reported public mass shootings around the world that resulted in the deaths of four or more people. “My study provides empirical evidence, based on my quantitative assessment of 171 countries, that a nation’s civilian firearm ownership rate is the strongest predictor of its number of public mass shooters,” the study’s author said. “Until now, everyone was simply speculating about the relationship between firearms and public mass shootings. My study provides empirical evidence of a positive association between the two.”

  • Law enforcementPolice more likely to be killed on duty in states with high gun ownership: Study

    Camden and Newark, New Jersey, are perceived as two of the most violent cities in the nation, yet New Jersey’s police officers are among the least likely to get shot on the job. Montana, with its serene landscapes and national parks, has among the highest homicide rates for law enforcement officers. Why? Across all fifty states and the District of Columbia, homicides of police officers are linked to the statewide level of gun ownership, according to a new study. The study found that police officers serving in states with high private gun ownership are more than three times more likely to be killed on the job than those on the job in states with the lowest gun ownership.

  • DronesDHS warns local law enforcement to watch for drones used by terrorists, criminals

    DHS has circulated an intelligence assessment to police agencies across the United States warning about drones being used as weapons in an attack. The bulletin went out Friday and warned state and municipal law enforcement agencies that terrorist and criminals may begin to use drones to advance their goals. “Emerging adversary use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems [UAS] present detection and disruption challenges,” the intelligence bulletin warns.

  • Law enforcementSize of a community’s police force predictor of police misconduct

    The size of a community’s police force is a greater predictor for police misconduct than its ethnic diversity, according to researchers. In a study of nearly 500 city police departments across the United States, researchers found police departments with a large number of full-time employees are more likely to experience reported incidents of police misconduct, including excessive force, sexual misconduct, financial misconduct, and driving under the influence. This contradicts previous claims by other studies that a large police organization can potentially reduce misconduct.

  • Mass shootingMass killings, school shootings are contagious

    On average, mass killings involving firearms occur approximately every two weeks in the United States, and school shootings occur on average monthly. Mass killings — events with four or more deaths — and school shootings create a period of contagion that lasts an average of thirteen days. Roughly 20 to 30 percent of such tragedies appear to arise from contagion. “The hallmark of contagion is observing patterns of many events that are bunched in time, rather than occurring randomly in time,” says a researcher.